Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cellphone Case or Tablet Sleeve Tutorial

I love my daily walks! If I'm going it alone I always take my cellphone so I can listen to audio books. They sure do make that 45 minutes fly by! I created this very quick and easy cellphone case so I can have my hands free. It even has a little pocket on the outside so you can stash your ear-buds (headphones), ID, house key, or even your charging cable. I also used this same exact pattern to create a sleeve for my e-reader (aka tablet PC). I made two of them in an afternoon, about 3 1/2 hours. You customize it to fit your device, and it's so easy!

1/4 yard light to med weight fabric for outside, strap, tab, pocket (strap is optional)
Scraps of fabric for lining
Scraps of fusible fleece     
Scraps of med weight fusible interfacing
3/4" piece of 3/4" wide, sew-in velcro (or a large snap if you prefer)
     can cut a bigger piece of velcro if making a bigger flap for an e-reader or tablet
Thread to match fabric

General sewing supplies will also be needed such as pins, needles, cutting tools, marking pens, sewing machine, and iron.

*If you aren't making the strap, you can use a fat quarter or scraps instead of the 1/4 yard.

*In place of the fleece, you can use 100% cotton quilt batting, but you're going to want to put in a few rows of machine quilting stitches to keep the layers from shifting during use or cleaning. Be sure to use the 100% cotton batting because a thicker quilt batting will cause too much bulk and your device may not fit inside properly. I also used a walking foot when I used the cotton batting. If you are worried about the batting causing too much bulk, causing a tighter fit, you can always add 1/4 inch to the cutting dimensions. When making my tablet sleeve, I used the cotton batting, and I used the instructions described in the tutorial, and it turned out perfect.

*The strap rests about mid-chest, like a necklace, which I think is perfect. If you want a longer strap, you will want to use 3/8 yard of fabric instead of 1/4 yard for the outside pieces, pocket, tab. If you are not making a strap, you can use a fat quarter, or even be able to use up some scraps to complete your project.

1.  Measure the width of your device, plus the depth. Mine measured 3 3/8 inches. I rounded this number up to the next quarter inch, so I'll go with 3 1/2. Next measure the length, plus the depth. Mine came to 6 inches. If you want your case/sleeve to fit nicely, it's important to take accurate measurements and keep your seam allowances as directed in the instructions. (Image 1 & 2)

***IMPORTANT - If you keep your cellphone in a protective case, be sure to have it on the cellphone when taking your measurements. You can use this sleeve without the protective case on your phone, if you choose, but I personally like the protective case on my phone even in the fabric case.

2.  Before cutting the pieces for the case/sleeve, pocket, and tabs, you'll want to cut your strap out first because you'll need the entire length of the fabric. Begin by cutting a strip that measures 3 inches by 44 inches from the 1/4 yard of fabric. You'll want to snip away the selvages at each end of the strap fabric piece.

Strap variations: You can choose to make just the case without the strap, or you can make your strap longer by piecing two pieces of fabric together. The best way to do this would be to stitch them together at an angle just as if you were making quilt binding. For the sleeve that I made for my tablet (Nexus 7), I didn't want the strap. I also made a cellphone case without the strap to use in the purses that do not have a pocket that fits my phone.

3.  Using the measurements that you took of your phone or tablet, you are going to add 1 1/2 inches to the width, and 1 1/4 inches to the length. 

Since my cellphone measured 3 1/2 x 6 inches, my fabric cuts for the outer case/sleeve and lining will be 5 x 7 1/4 inches. This additional amount will be for the seams and the excess bulk.

4. Cut the fabric as follows (Image 3):

From the new measurements above, cut out 2 outside pieces, 2 lining pieces, and 2 pieces of fusible fleece. 

For the pocket, you will cut a piece of fabric and medium weight fusible interfacing the same width that you cut for your case/sleeve, but an inch shorter for the length.

For the tab, you will cut a piece of fabric, lining, and medium weight fusible interfacing 3 x 2 inches.

Note: For the case/sleeve I made for my Nexus 7 tablet, I wanted a bigger tab, so I just adjusted my measurements to accommodate this. I cut my tab for this sleeve 3 x 4 inches so that after it was finished, my tab was 3 inches wide. I also used the medium weight interfacing for the inside pocket. I just stitched the wavy lines (same method I used for machine quilting the outside case/sleeve) for appearances sake. I didn't want to use the cotton batting on the back of the pocket like I did for the case/sleeve, because I was worried it would cause too much bulk.

Assembling your case/sleeve:
1.  Fuse the fusible fleece to the backside of each outer case/tablet piece. Fuse the medium weight fusible interfacing to the backside of the tab, and the other piece to the backside of the pocket.

Be sure to follow manufacturer's instructions for the fusible products you are using.

2.  For the upper edge of your pocket (one of the short edges), turn under 1/2 inch and press, then turn under 1/2 inch again and press. Stitch close to the fold. (Image 4)

3.  Place this pocket piece on the right side of one of your outer pieces so that the wrong side (side with the interfacing) is facing the outer fabric. All the raw (un-stitched) edges will line up. Machine baste around these three edges 3/8 inch from the edges. Set aside for now. (Image 5)

4.  Create your tab by placing the two outer tab fabric on the lining tab fabric with right sides together. Stitch around the two long edges and one of the short edges, leaving the remaining short edge open for turning. Use a 1/2 inch seam allowance, then trim away excess after stitching. Cut away the corners at an angle. Turn right side out and press. Stitch one of the velcro pieces to the lining side of the tab, close to the edge that is stitched. If you are choosing to use large snaps instead, you can stitch them on at the very end. (Image 6)

Note: If you are making a larger tab for a e-reader or tablet, you will want to cut your velcro larger to accommodate the larger tab. For the tablet sleeve, I also top stitched around the three finished edges of the tab to give it a more finished look as well as making it more stable.

5.  Place this tab on the upper edge of the piece that you basted the pocket piece to. The upper edge is the edge where the pocket has the finished edge. The velcro will be facing up, and the raw edge of the tab will be lined up with the raw edge of the outer fabric piece. Before you secure it in place with a pin, you will want to lay your cellphone on top of these pieces and mark where the hole for your ear-buds (headphones) will be. You will not want to cover it. Once you have done this, move your tab either to the right or left (which ever allows more room) so that it allows clearance for your ear-buds (headphones). Now secure with a pin and machine baste 3/8 inch from upper edge. (Image 7)

6.  Now you are going to stitch the other half of the velcro piece to the right side of the remaining fabric piece near the upper edge. The best way I have found to do this so that it lines up perfectly, is to fold the upper edge 1/2 inch to the inside on both outer pieces since this is the amount of your seam allowance. Pin or clip to secure the upper edge as if it were stitched down. Hold the two pieces outer together with wrong sides facing each other. You can even clip or pin them in place temporarily. Now fold over your tab, and place the remaining piece of velcro where it lines up with it's other half, pin velcro piece in place to secure. Remember to add a little "slack" for the depth of the phone.  (Image 8)

This technique is especially helpful if you are placing your tab off center like mine is. 

7.  Now remove the pins or clips and stitch your other half of velcro to the outer case/sleeve piece in the exact spot where it lined up with the one on the tab.

8.  Place the two outer pieces together with right sides together and secure with clips or pins. Stitch around the sides and bottom using a 1/2 inch seam allowance, leaving the upper edge open. Trim away excess seam allowance and clip corners. Turn right side out and press. You might have to un-stick your velcro. It is important not to exceed the 1/2 inch seam allowance. Set aside. (Image 9)

9.  Stitch your lining pieces along the sides and bottom, with right sides together, using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. You will leave the upper edge open. It's also important to leave about a 1 1/2 to 2 inch opening in the center of the bottom for turning right side out when you are finished. Cut away excess seam allowance and clip corners. Do not turn right side out. (Image 10)

10. Slip the outer part of the case/sleeve inside this lining piece. The right sides will be together and the upper edges will line up with each other. Pin along the upper edges to hold in place for now. Set aside while you are making the strap. If you are not using a strap, skip the next two steps. (Image 11)

11. To make the strap, fold your 3 x 44 inch strip in half with wrong sides together and press. Fold each of the long edges to the inside meeting at the center fold, press. Secure with pins and stitch along the edge where the two folds meet. To give it a more finished look, and to make it more secure, stitch along the other long edge next to that fold. (Image 12)

12. Using the opening at the bottom of the lining, slip the ends of the strap, between the lining and the outer pieces until they reach the upper edge of the case/sleeve. Secure the ends of the strap to the sides of the case/sleeve, with the raw edges of the strap lined up with the raw edges of the case/sleeve. Pin to secure. Repeat this step with the remaining end of the strap. It is important to make sure that your strap does not twist while you are doing this, or you will have a twisted strap. (Image 13)

13.  Stitch all around the upper edge, catching the strap ends in the stitching using a 1/2 inch seam allowance. If you are not using a strap, just stitch around the upper edge. (Image 14)

14. Turn right side out through the opening in the bottom of the lining, then stitch the opening in the lining closed. Place the lining inside the case/sleeve and smooth out. Press. Top stitch along about 1/4 inch away from the upper edge. (Image 15)

*If you are using large snaps instead of velcro for the tab, you can stitch them on now.

If you want the PDF version of this tutorial, you can download it for FREE from my Craftsy Shop HERE.


  1. Absolutely lovely and very well explained step-by-step tutorial! Thanks for sharing!

  2. What a handy project! I love that you make it to fit any device!

  3. Job well done. I like the personalization. You are very clever.

  4. I really like this. There are times when I don't want to carry a big purse and just need something to carry my phone, keys and either cash or my card. This is perfect. Thanks for the tutorial. I'm going to have to make one of these for myself

  5. These are so cute! Perfect for a walk when you don't want to carry everything. I love the fabrics you used.

  6. Thank you so much. I love your stuff!

  7. Thanks for the information and links you shared this is so should be a useful and quite informative!
    ipad protective case for kids


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